It’s a well-worn saying, “Give the people what they want” — but a well-contested one, too. Should the creation of art be left up to the crowd? And if it is, will the results be wholly satisfying, or wholly derivative? Well, Swedish DJ and producer Avicii is about to find out. He recently teamed up with mobile networking company Ericsson to launch what they’re calling “the world’s largest music collaboration.”
Avicii unveiled the project — titled Avicii x You — at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, launching a website dedicated to helping fans help him write his next single. According to Gigaom, Avicii will be sourcing bassline, effects, rhythms and vocals from fans via the website over the coming months, and will reveal the final product on February 26 during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Currently, the DJ has posted the basic chord layout, pitch and key to the site. More info and content will launch Wednesday.
It remains to be seen how Avicii will weave all the elements together and how much agency he will give to fans. If, indeed, he does create a jam that prominently features fan contributions — one that he plans to play on the radio, etc — that would be an interesting step in the crowdsourcing realm. While Avicii is not the first to crowdsource elements of a song by any means, often those user-altered tracks are extras or remixes — alternate versions of preexisting tunes. See Manchester Orchestra’s “Virgin” singalong project or the Bon Iver remix contest. DEVO crowdsourced the content of their Something For Everyone album, but that endeavor only dictated which DEVO songs would appear on the album, not their content. (And, naturally, the whole thing was more of a weird art project that anything else.)
If anything, Avicii’s effort is most similar to when Deadmau5 collaborated with Twitter user Chris James on the Ray Bradbury-inspired song, “The Veldt.” James tweeted lyrics to Deadmau5 to correspond to the musician’s preexisting melody and, voila, a song was born.
Granted, Avicii will be working with a much larger pool. We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of content he receives and what he does with it — and whether, ultimately, a crowdsourced song equates to a crowd favorite.